Module Overview

Solid State Physics 1 (Condensed Matter)

This module in solid state physics examines the mechanical electrical and magnetic properties of solid materials.  It explores the origins of such properties developing the theories underpinning experimental observation . It examines the nature of solid solutions and the theory of diffraction.

Module Code

PHYS 3802

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Review of basic crystallography. Lattice defects. Review of elasticity, stress, strain, Hooke’s law, the elastic moduli, strength, stiffness, and elastic deformation.  Dislocations and plasticity, Schmid’s law.  Strengthening mechanisms, work hardening, grain boundary hardening.  Annealing processes in materials, process of recovery, recrystallisation and grain growth.  Mechanical testing. Fracture mechanisms, brittle fracture and ductile fracture. Fatigue

Solid solution and intermediate phases, equilibrium phase diagrams of multi-phase solids and intermediate phases, eutectic, peritectic, eutectoid, hypo/hyper – euctectoid Free energies of solid state phase transitions.

Spin, magnetism of free atoms, origins of atomic magnetism, spin-orbit interaction, total angular momentum J, transistion rates, solid magnetism, spin paramagnetism, Curie law, ferromagnetism, domains, antiferromagnetism and ferrimagnetism.

Diffraction from crystals – 2D crystal structure, Surface reconstructions, Surface overlayer structures, nomenclature for 2D surfaces, Low energy electron diffraction technique(LEED), reciprocal net in 2D, Diffraction in 3D, Bragg Diffraction, Atomic Scattering Factor, Structure Factor, Laue conditions, Reciprocal lattice, Diffraction techniques, Debye-Scherrer Method.

Electrical Properties of Solids/ Introductory Bandstructure – Drude theory of electrical conductivity in solids, Basic assumptions, DC electrical conductivity, Collisions and relaxation times, Matthiesen’s rule, Hall effect and magnetoresistance, AC electrical conductivity, Dielectric function and plasma resonance, Thermal conductivity, Wiedemann- Franz Law and Lorentz number.

Bloch’s quantum theory of conduction – Electrons in a periodic potential, Energy band structure, Electron statistics.

Lectures supported by tutorials, problem sheets, discussion  and self directed learning.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Other Assessment(s)35